[Milton-L] Memorization

kathryn jackson thatsalloneword at sbcglobal.net
Mon Feb 23 21:24:35 EST 2004

A student's opinion:

The only thing more irritating than listening to fellow students whinging, bitching and moaning about being asked to commit something to memory (or to speak in front of the class) is instructors who decide to forgo these simple exercises because the students "won't want to."  :P

It is a tremendous disservice to allow students to dictate what should be expected of them; they're in college to learn, and to learn what's good for them. 

If you don't believe you are teaching them anything worth committing to memory, please resign promptly. 

If you are a student of literature who doesn't want to memorize what you're studying, then change your major to something about which you care.

Memorizing some Milton is GOOD FOR THEM! 

It's good mental exercise and will enrich their minds and lives.

Junior college or not -- in fact, ESPECIALLY in jc ---> it will not kill anyone to sit down and concentrate for a few minutes each night on something of more worth than syndicated reruns and ludicrous "reality" programming. 

"Gee! Wow! Not fourteen WHOLE lines" (That rhyme in most cases, for John's sake). 

In the time spent complaining they could be half-way through.

Students know all the words to pop songs, having poured over the liner notes. They can recite sport statistics because sports are "important" to them. They can recount gossip verbatim, even about "stars" they will NEVER meet. 

They have the capacity. Don't let them fool you with their lack of taste and judgement.

A simple "Because I have decided it is part of your grade," should be sufficient.

And stick to it. If you want to SEE some discipline, exhibit some discipline.

You're doing them a favor. 

Even if they never thank you. Even if they never figure it out. 

You would be, in effect, rewarding them for rewarding themselves. The first one is NOT EXTRA CREDIT.

One prof at my univ. requires students to memorize and perform lines from Shakespeare. They begin with two lines and work their ways up to sixteen by the end of the semester. This bring -he-frog-to-boil technique seems both effective and not unpopular.

Another asks us to choose our own fourteen lines from PL. I only wish "the shy ones" weren't let off the hook and allowed to recite privately during office hours, because it only reinforces the notion that their "shyness" should be indulged, when in fact, they need to get over it <-- but perhaps that's me going too far, as usual.

And as for grad students -- well -- they should be doing it without being asked.

Thank you for your time.

Be Well.

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